Automobiles in Jammu and Kashmir would soon be running on liquefied petroleum gas and CNG, with the Centre planning to introduce these fuels in the state.
"Auto LPG will be introduced in the state in a big way to protect environment. It will be started with Srinagar", Union Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan told reporters in Srinagar.
Srinivasan, who was in Srinagar to attend a meeting of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, said LPG would be an intermediate arrangement till a CNG (compressed natural gas) pipeline is extended to the state.
The Jammu & Kashmir High Court had earlier asked the state government and the Centre to establish a CNG pipeline network in the state.
In the meeting, chaired by Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, it was decided that public sector oil companies like IOC, BPCL and HPCL would augment marketing and distribution infrastructure in the three states.
An official statement released after the meeting said oil firms plan to set up 25 retail outlets (ROS) and three LPG distributorships in Himachal Pradesh and 49 ROS and 24 distributorships in Jammu and Kashmir.
The oil marketing companies also give priority to customers in hilly areas for releasing LPG connections, it said, adding such initiatives have led to a reduction in deforestation to a very large extent.
The LPG cover in Jammu and Kashmir is 85 per cent, Uttarakhand 90 per cent and Himachal Pradesh 97 per cent of the total population, which is more than double the national average of 45 per cent, the release said.